Quality of Life Research

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 273–281 | Cite as

Self-reported history of anorexia nervosa and current quality of life: findings from a community-based study

  • D. MitchisonEmail author
  • P. Hay
  • J. Mond
  • S. Slewa-Younan



To evaluate the impact of a lifetime history of anorexia nervosa (AN) on current quality of life (QoL) and eating disorder (ED) symptomatology.


3,034 participants from a randomly selected sample of households in the Australian population were interviewed for current ED symptoms and QoL (SF-36).


89 participants (2.9 %) reported a history of AN, 73 of whom were female. These participants scored lower on six of the eight subscales on the SF-36, including all of the mental health subscales, and were more likely to report binge eating and extreme weight or shape concerns than participants who did not report a history of AN. On the other hand, participants who reported a history of AN were less likely to be overweight. None of the participants who reported a history of AN met current criteria for AN; however, one met criteria for bulimia nervosa non-purging subtype and four met criteria for binge eating disorder. The endorsement of current ED symptoms was found to moderate the impact of a history of AN on scores of the social functioning and role limitations due to emotional health SF-36 subscales, such that participants who reported a history of AN scored lower on these subscales if they also reported current ED symptoms.


A history of AN has a deleterious impact on current QoL, despite remittance from the disorder. This may be explained in part by the presence of certain ED symptoms, including objective binge eating and the persistence of extreme weight and shape concerns.


Anorexia nervosa Quality of life Population Eating disorders Community-based study 



The study was funded by a University of Western Sydney School of Medicine seeding grant to Professor Hay. Ms Mitchison is supported by a University of Western Sydney Postgraduate Research Award.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Mitchison
    • 1
    Email author
  • P. Hay
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Mond
    • 3
  • S. Slewa-Younan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of MedicineUniversity of Western SydneyPenrithAustralia
  2. 2.School of MedicineJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.School of SociologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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